By Sharon DelVento
By Sharon DelVento

     Were you aware that many people end up in the ER every year because they slice open their hand while trying to slice open a bagel? They’ve got nothing on me.

Rather than trim a fat, four-inch-wide, vanilla-scented candle right after blowing it out -- i.e., while the wax was still warm and relatively soft -- I waited until the next day and tried to trim it when it was cold, hard, and somewhat brittle.

This pillar candle has been with me for years due to the fact that I don’t burn it very often, which is, in turn, due to the fact that I actually kind of hate it. I much prefer tapers. They require no maintenance whatsoever. I like to see the entire flame, and in order to do that with a fat candle, you have to trim it every time you use it.

Normally, I place it firmly on a paper towel on the table, but no matter how careful I am, bits of scented, crumbly wax get all over the area not covered by the paper towel and when I am finished, I have to wipe the table repeatedly in order to get all the little crumbly bits of wax off and then dump them in the trash bag.

This time I decided on a different approach. Since the fat candle was, by this time, only about 2½ inches tall, I thought it would be better to start at the trash bag straight off: gripping the candle from the bottom, with my hand palm-up, I would pare away the top of the candle directly into the trash. I thought it would be better, that is, until my knife slipped with all the force behind it of someone trying to carve something cold, hard, and somewhat brittle.

Well. I now have this five-inch scratch running up along the inside of my forearm. It bled only minimally, and is very thin; but the inner part of the forearm has rather tender skin, and it doesn’t take much to leave quite a nasty mark on it. Jehosaphat on a bullfrog, sometimes I astound myself.

Having failed to win a Darwin Award, I feel that I deserve at least a Distinguished Medal of Dumbassery.

I have thrown out the fat candle.